Judith Owigar has gone from strength to strength in Africa's tech scene despite only 15 percent of women currently occupying that space. She is the owner of the tech startup Juakali, and President of AkiraChix – an organisation centred around building, supporting, and inspiring African women in technology.
Zimbabwe's StartUp Weekend is fast approaching and we're counting down the weeks with our inspiring African women in tech series. This week we're telling Judith's story because not only is she advancing technology in Africa herself, but ensuring other women can do the same.
The key program areas in the Kenyan-based AkiraChix organisation include networking, mentorship and training, and the key outcomes are centred around increasing the number of women in tech who are creators of technological solutions. And it doesn't end there. In essence, Judith and her team want to change the perception of technology by women, and they do this by enhancing their role in the field and empowering them to inspire other females as well.
In an interview with Wamathai last year, Judith spoke about the current challenges women in tech face and the ways in which they can be overcome:
“In Africa the challenges are mainly cultural, social and economic. Basically how society views women and the roles they should play; discouragement from peers, parents or the community; and limited or no funding for their education. I think the best way to overcome these challenges is to surround yourself with people who encourage you to be the best you can be and to reach out to people who you would like to emulate.”
It should come as no surprise that Judith has been recognised for giving women room to flourish and impress in Africa's tech scene. In 2011 she was given the Anita Borg Change Agent Award and she has also been honoured by the US Embassy in Kenya with the Unsung Heroes Award. Judith and the team at AkiraChix have also hosted their own special events, such as the all-girl hackathon, GirlApp. They are also hosting a Girl's in ICT Day this Saturday, 26 April, in Nairobi - register here.
This is week three of our African women in tech series. If you missed our blogs on Barbara Mallinson and Amolo Ng'weno, be sure to check them out for a healthy dose of inspiration.